When it comes to storing your breastmilk long term, the freezer is the best option. By storing breastmilk in the freezer, you know that you have suppliers for many meals to come. But, how long can breast milk stay in the freezer?
This is an excellent solution for mothers who need to leave town often while the baby stays home. It is also a great option if you are planning to breastfeed your baby for a longer time and not compromise for any formula feedings.
How long can breast milk stay in the freezer?
According to LLLI guidelines, breastmilk can be stored in the freezer (at 0° F/-18° C) for a safe period of 3 to 6 months. In the deep freezer (at -4° F/-20° C), it can stay longer like 6 to 12 months.
Some pediatricians and lactation specialists might even tell you that you can store breastmilk in the freezer for up to 9 months. However, you need to make sure you collect it and store it the way you should to not compromise this generous time frame! You should place the milk in the back of the freezer, so it will stay at the best.
Also, keep in mind that breastmilk will expand when you freeze it. Because of this reason, you should not fill the storage containers all the way. Leave a quarter free in each bottle or breastmilk bag.
Clean and sterilize the containers you use carefully and don’t touch them until you get them out of the freezer to use them. Hygiene is a significant aspect when you are freezing breastmilk.
Just like we advised you to store milk in the refrigerator, try to use containers that are the size of 1 or 2 meals. This will help you to defrost just as much breastmilk as you need when you need it. It will also help you stay more organized. Speaking of being organized, a useful tip is to label each milk container or bag with the date you put it in the freezer. Most likely, you will not remember this date months from now, so seeing it there will help you know exactly for how long you stored the breastmilk.
Even if you stored the breastmilk correctly in the freezer, it is essential to check it before feeding it to your baby. Do the smell test we talked about and see if the color of the milk suffered any modifications.
Good stored milk should remain the same color for the entire time it stays in the freezer. If you notice that it achieved an odd tint to it, such as green or blue, you might want to think twice before feeding it to your baby. This can happen if the temperature in your freezer is not constant or if it is not the right temperature.